Sunday, April 19, 2015

Black Mountain from Nelson Creek

Today Neil and I met up with Kirsty and Glyn to hike up Black Mountain from Nelson Creek. It was good to catch up and reunite on the trails. Last summer we did several hikes together, Neil had mentioned to Glyn that this route would be a good stretch of the legs!
The hiking books rate this as: Difficult, 19km return, 1,184m (3, 884 feet) of elevation gain. 8 hours (we did it in 5hours with a good rest break at the top). We usually do this hike a couple of times a year as it features in a couple of local trail running events. It's a tough section for any event!
Lunch at the Top of the Bluffs on Black Mountain. The sun was warm and the visibility was good with views out to Vancouver Island. And the best bonus - no  BUGS! It's a little early in the season for the mighty black flies that make me react with swollen welts.
Glyn and I climbing - it is very steep! Very Steep!

Kirsty and I heading up the first scree field.
Looking forward to our next outing together.
 Here's Fergus cheering for the Vancouver Canucks. It is Stanley Cup Playoff time in Vancouver and ice hockey fever takes over the city.  Last year, Vancouver missed the Playoffs so there is much excitement this year as we take on arch rivals, the Calgary Flames in round 1. 
Go Canucks Go!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Diez Vista 2015

Saturday was Neil's 10th running of the Diez Vista 50km trail run. This event 11 years ago was also our first Ultra Marathon. (It didn't take place one year) We were both signed up to do the event this year which Neil was determined to complete but closer to the date I got into the funk that I wasn't going to do it. I completed the Dirty Duo 50km (52km) in good form a month ago and had some good outings on the trails since but somehow was lacking the desire to do the Diez Vista. It's a tough one, and this would be my 5th completion. I had been on the event trails a few times this year but I wasn't feeling like I had done adequate training on the course. 

Something changed for my mindset on Thursday evening and all of a sudden I became so proud of Neil and I for the many ultra events (160 between us) we have both completed since the Diez Vista 11 years ago. We have accomplished many great achievements in the last 11 years since our first Ultra. What an opportunity to celebrate by doing the event together! 

My thoughts never darkened once I made the decision to run. We towed the start line together and we had a great journey.  I was full of positive thoughts throughout the event. The power of celebrating all the good things we have done together and the fortunate life we have together. I had some niggling foot issues but nothing I knew I couldn't work through with electrolytes and a little Vitamin "I". 

At the start line - Wendy the RD giving us some updates. 
Route changes!!...listening closely. 
The route changes made the new route calculated by one of the runners to be 52km and 8,103 feet of elevation gain, 16, 207 feet of elevation change. No wonder my quads are tender today!
This photo was taken on a long rocky stretch heading to the finish with about 8km to go and one final major climb remaining. 
I am proud of this ultra! Most for how the power of positive thinking can influence our successes. Today the Olympic Cauldron was lit in Vancouver.  Five years on from the 2010 Winter Olympics, it is only ever lit for special occasions.  In our own way, we took this as a symbol of our own successful and highly enjoyable completion of Neil's 10th Diez Vista and my 5th! 
Thank-you Wendy, fellow RD's and volunteers for making this another great Diez Vista! 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Diet Vista Hike

Today Neil, Chris and I hiked the Diez Vista trail from Buntzen Lake. Yesterday Neil ran the Chuckanutt 50km run in Bellingham USA. As usual the event was wet and muddy! He did well and came in around the time he is consistent with for that event. I was just proud he went and did it considering the horrendous weather conditions. The weather yesterday on the coast was very stormy - heavy rain with thunder storms. The weather forecast predicted a few hours of dryness today which we managed to take advantage of and get out on the trails!  We took it nice and easy which is still a great work out due to the big climbs and rough terrain. We were out there for just over 4 hours and covered about 25 km which speaks to the roughness of the terrain. 
There are several views from the trail as you climb from Buntzen Lake. There were quite a few people on the trail today. We came upon a couple of ladies who had found themselves going around in circles and retracing their steps. Somehow they missed how the trail continues past one of the rocky view points. We suggested they stay with us and we would get them on their way in the direction they were hoping to go. Mission accomplished! 
Here's Chris and I enjoying a peanut butter sandwich once the major climbing was over. It always amazes me how the descent on this trail is so rough and technical. Glad I had the snack to keep my mind and feet coordinated for the descent. It felt good once we were down and on the Lake Shore Trail. Neil and I are both signed up for the 50km Diez Vista trail race coming up in a few weeks which includes this section of the trail. I'm looking forward to a few more outings in the area before the event. 
We met up with Kendall for coffee once we were done and her parting words were "you all need a bath". Thanks Neil and Chris for a good outing today. 
Happy Trails! 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Dirty Duo 50km

Here's Craig and I finishing the Dirty Duo 52 km (course was re-routed and a little longer) than the original 50 km of previous years

It was a beautiful spring day. A little cold at 7:30 am for the early start. There was a small group of us for the early start. I was feeling a little apprehensive until I heard that one of my fellow runners had just returned from Sierra Leon (and completed his quarantine time) working with people living and dying from Ebola. Now that put the entire under taking into perspective! 

We were about to spend the day on the trails, in nice spring weather! How thankful I should be that I can come out and play. I had a bit of a rough start as we ended up running through a cloud of smoke from a close by burning fire of some sort. It made my breathing difficult. Craig and I were running together and he was very patient. He was looking for a good long run and time on his feet both of which I promised him I could deliver! 

After an hour or so I started to settle into the run. I found my airways opened up and I was doing much better. I even had some firsts like actually passing a runner on "Ned's Atomic Dust Bin". It is a downhill mountain bike trail that is super rough and technical. In this event you actually do it 2x's! Yah Ned's! 

Craig was stopping for a few minutes at the aid stations chatting to friends and then would run to catch up to me. After a couple of hours he said "Princess you are speeding up" - he was working hard to catch up to me! Better stay with me partner I replied! 

In this event you have to complete a 25km route and then repeat it for the last 25km's. Repeating anything is not fun but on Saturday Craig and I seemed to embrace the day and we tackled the second loop no problem. I think on some sections I was much stronger on the second loop. My feet started to cramp so I took some electrolyte tablets and guzzled the electrolyte drink at the aid stations and it took care of the cramping. 

The Dirty Duo has many events going on simultaneously. There are mountain bikes on the route and various distances of running. We had a very peaceful journey and didn't see too many people along the way. Perhaps because we took the early start and that we were near the back of the pack. It made for a very relaxing day on the trails. We were proud to complete our first 50 km event of 2015 feeling good and even made plans for dinner that evening where we had some good discussions about the upcoming Vancouver 100 in June. 

Longer days are here with the clocks turning this weekend. Looking forward to more midweek outings! 

Thank-you Heather and the Mountain Madness crew for putting on a great event. I really appreciated the excellent marking of the course especially with multiple events and having different bike and running routes. Thank-you Craig, hope the journey was as much fun for you as it was for me! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fragrance Lake Half Marathon

Saturday Neil and I headed south to the USA to participate in the Fragrance Lake Trail Half Marathon. We always allow extra time to account for the border crossing. It's about 1.5 hour drive from home if all is smooth sailing at the border. The border line up was minimal so we arrived in plenty of time. We took the opportunity to fill up the monster truck with the cheap American fuel - it's almost half the cost of Canadian fuel! 

For the event you park at the finish and walk to the start which is across Chuckanutt Drive. Somewhat confusing but thankfully we were here in November for another half marathon so we were familiar with the area. 

It was a cold morning around 4 degrees C but clear skies and no rain - yah!! The event has about 3500 feet of climbing. So it is not your typical half marathon event. One trail was called the "Rock Trail". We started climbing and running past rocks as big as houses. We deduced this must be the "Rock Trail". Neil and I did the event together as we have done many events before. This year we are celebrating  our 25th wedding anniversary so we are planning a few trail events together. It's going to be a team effort! �� Our Anniversary date is in June where we will celebrate with 100km's on the trail together at Vancouver 100. (More details of the event to come!) 

Here's the  Fragrance Lake Half Marathon course profile: 

These trails have a unique mud to them that is super slippery. We don't have this kind of mud in Vancouver �� so it always adds to the fun factor when on these trails. 

Some of the trails were familiar from previous events we have participated in although we were going in the opposite direction which made them appear "new" to us! We enjoyed the day together with spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains and coastal views of the state of Washington. The trail was well marked and it was a well organized event on very nice trails. 

Happy Trails! 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Weekend

We are not avid football fans despite the Seattle Seahawks being in the Super Bowl this weekend. Seattle is the closest NFL team to Vancouver and excitement filled the city. Game day was wet so we were somewhat tempted to stay indoors and watch the game. We overcame the temptation to sit in front of the TV and enjoyed a peaceful trail run from Riverside Road on the Baden Powell. Both the rain and the game must have kept folk at home. We had the trails to ourselves which was very special. We called it quits when we started to feel a bit chilled from being so wet after 1.5 hours. 

Saturday I joined Craig and Lynette for a hike on another section of the Baden Powelll from Skyline Drive where we did an out and back. The Baden Powell trail can be accessed from many points to do a section of the trail for training runs. 

                             Craig and Lynette Baden Powell Trail 

Earlier this week we witnessed a beautiful sunset on the Pitt Meadows Dyke while out for a run. A motor boat had just gone by and created the wake. 

                                      Pitt Meadows Dykes 
          Fergus and I enjoying the view on the Pitt Meadows Dykes. 

This week I did 2 Spin classes, 1 TRX class, 5 runs and 1 hike. Trying to keep the wheels turning! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mosquitoes in January?

The Pineapple Express from Hawaii has been providing us with extremely wet and warm weather here in Vancouver. The term Pineapple Express sounds much more glamorous with images of Hawaiian fruit and cocktails arriving via the jet stream. What it really means is torrential rain, high humidity and warm temperatures. Almost all the snow on the local mountains has disappeared so snow shoeing has turned into rock shoeing! 

Today Neil, Dave and I did a 2.5 hour run on the Dirty Duo route in 15 degrees Celsius with very high humidity. It was a sweaty one! We were greeted by a hatch of mosquitoes near the creeks. I hope the wasps stay underground. Weather forecast is for more of the same. Perhaps next January we should just go to Hawaii! 

This week I did 4 spin classes, 1 TRX class, 1 sea wall walk, and 3 runs. Hoping to get outside more next week. 

Dave and I on one of the many slippery board walks on this route. 

Happy Robbie Burns Day! 

Fergus enjoying some Haggis!